Be it true or false, imaginary or realistic, DEBKAfile's Giora Shamis can rest easy on Saturday, after having spun New York police into a frenzy following a Debka report that al-Qaeda might be plotting to detonate a dirty bomb in the city.
Moments before updating his site with new information obtained from world-wide sources, Shamis talked with Ynet and refused to take full credit for the incident.
"The New York Police didn’t have to take my information seriously," he said. "They had other information, additional to ours."
Shamis offers all information he receives to the American authorities with open arms. "Anyone contacting us can receive the information. We have been contacted in the past and we are still contacted by US police departments and terror-investigating bodies," he said.
Claiming that New York City residents had much to fear, Shamis said, "There is always something to be afraid of, because the threat is an ongoing threat, and it's a fact that the New York Police Department has taken it seriously.
"We never know if the threat is real or not, but if you follow these publications for years, you can get a feel for whether the threat is serious or not. This time this threat seemed – due to the intensiveness of the exchange of messages - to be more serious than others."
Despite the fact that Debka's sources are not viewed as very credible by the Israeli reader, Shamis insisted, "Debka has a monitoring department and its main job is to follow al-Qaeda and other terror organizations' online movement.
"We specialize in these areas and publish everything we find – videos, messages, announcements, and all other publications that appear on the web. Sometimes we find in these guides the location of their planned attack, and we follow them."
Shamis continued to shoot down claims that the site published false information, saying, "Sometimes, it is the publication of the alert that prevents the actual attack from being carried out."
Taking pride in the fact that a Debka publication from July 2001 predicted that one of al-Qaeda's targets was the World Trade Center in New York City, Shamis said, "Our record speaks for itself. Of course there are people who are uncomfortable with this information, so they treat it as information that they don't want to accept.
"Is this a conspiratory site? The whole war on terror is conspiratory and is very much built on alerts. Whether the information is correct or incorrect is the real test."